Study Guide

The Sun Also Rises

by Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises Analysis

Places Discussed (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


*Paris. French capital, in which the novel opens. There, American newspaperman Jake Barnes lives and works in the midst of a community of American and British expatriates who find the city a wasteland of values. A question regarding values that arises early in the book is the contrast between work and idleness, and this opposition is reflected in the Parisian locales frequented by Jake and his friends.

Paris is split by the River Seine into two sections: the Right Bank (Rive Droite) and the Left Bank (Rive Gauche). In the novel, work is associated with the Right Bank. Jake’s newspaper office, for example, is on the Right Bank, in the vicinity of the avenue de l’Opéra and the Tuileries garden. On the Right Bank, too, he encounters Georgette, who as a prostitute is a working woman.

When Jake, with Georgette in tow, goes partying with his idle and rich expatriate friends, they go to the Left Bank, near the Panthéon. There they encounter Jake’s love, Lady Brett, with an entourage of gay men. The similarity between Georgette and Brett is emphasized by their rhyming names and their promiscuity; the difference between them is that one engages in sex professionally, and the other is an alcoholic amateur in promiscuity.

It is evident that Ernest Hemingway endorses the values of work and the Right Bank, rather than the bohemian idleness of the Left Bank, for those who work are realistic and tough-minded, while those who remain idle are escapist and emotionally untidy. However, both workers and idlers, realists and escapists, all of them are physically or emotionally wounded: Jake is impotent, Brett is an adulterer, Cohn has a broken nose, Georgette has rotten teeth. Hence, both the Right Bank and the Left Bank are like Paris as a whole, wastelands of lost values and denatured love.


*Pyrenees (pihr-ah-neez). Mountain range running along the border between France and Spain to which Jake takes his newly arrived American friend Bill Gorton on a five-day fishing trip. If Paris is hellish, the Spanish hamlets in which the men stay in the mountains are edenic. Hemingway depicts landscapes of breathtaking natural beauty in which nature and humanity coexist in a blessed ecological union, as when “fields of grapes touched the houses.” It is an idyllic and healing experience, contrasting with that of Paris. Whereas Jake suffers from insomnia and cries in the night in Paris; in the Pyrenees, he sleeps soundly and dreamlessly.


*Roncesvalles (rahn-sihs-VAH-yay; also known as Roncevaux). Spanish town in the Pyrenees whose medieval monastery Jake and Bill visit, along with the Englishman Wilson Harris whom they meet while fishing. The trip becomes almost a pilgrimage. For Roncesvalles is a relic of an epoch when friendship, valor, and combat had meaning. Indeed, it is the site of the French national epic, The Song of Roland (twelfth century), an epic that celebrates the true friendship of Roland and Oliver and the prowess of their small band of courageous companions who died fighting against a Moorish invasion, thereby buying time for Charlemagne to redeploy the forces that saved Europe for Christianity. At Roncevaux, even in modern times, Hemingway shows that friendship can have real worth and meaning. As the men part company, Harris gives Jake and Bill some fishing flies that he himself has tied—symbols of friendship valuable beyond anything that can be bought or sold.


*Pamplona (pam-PLOH-nah). Town in northern Spain in which Jake’s vacation with his friends reaches both its high and its low points. The men stay in the town during its famous annual Fiesta de San Fermín, which lasts for a week in July. During this nominally religious fiesta, there are daily bullfights preceded by the running of the bulls through the city streets, followed by spontaneous eruptions of inebriated parties.

Hemingway uses Pamplona’s fiesta to highlight contrasts between meaningful and empty values. The bullfighter Pedro Romero represents the best values because, through work and artistry, he creates beauty out of violence, while risking his life in its creation. True fans of bullfighting, including Jake, know and understand this almost as if it were an article of religious faith.

The empty values are emblematized by Brett, who becomes a paganistic Circe-like figure attracting throngs of idle, pleasure-seeking party-goers. When Pedro (the worker-artist) and Brett (the partying idler) fall in love, Jake finds himself in a dilemma; he loves them both, yet knows that Brett’s lifestyle will endanger Pedro’s talent. However, through loyalty to his (impotent) love for Brett, Jake brings them together, only to be reviled by bullfight aficionados as a pimping traitor, and he is beaten up by Robert Cohn. Thus is the central drama of the novel played out in Pamplona.

*San Sebastian

*San Sebastian. Spanish seaside resort town in which Jake recuperates after the debacle in Pamplona, There, he goes for a long swim that is renewing and almost baptismal in effect, making him feel as though he “could never sink.” Afterward, he heeds Brett’s request to meet her in Madrid after she breaks off from Pedro.

The Sun Also Rises Historical Context

Bullfighting is a popular attraction in Spain. Published by Gale Cengage

The Lost Generation
Writers, horrified by the stranglehold of business and the uselessness of Prohibition, expatriated...

(The entire section is 798 words.)

The Sun Also Rises Setting

The novel opens in Paris in the early 1920s. The Left Bank of the Seine River was a magnet for philosophers, artists, and writers during the...

(The entire section is 231 words.)

The Sun Also Rises Quizzes

Book I, Chapter 1 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where did Robert attend college?

2. What is Robert’s religion?

3. Who is the narrator?

4. Give three sports in which Robert excelled.

5. Why is Jake suspicious about Robert’s having been a middleweight boxing champion?

6. How many years did Robert stay in Europe?

7. Why does Frances change her attitude toward Robert?

8. What sport do Robert and Jake share?

9. What shows Frances’ jealousy?

10. What shows Robert’s insecurity at the end of the chapter?

1. Robert attended college at Princeton.

2. Robert is Jewish.


(The entire section is 177 words.)

Book I, Chapter 2 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How does Robert’s perception of himself with women change?

2. How old is Robert?

3. Where does he want Jake to go?

4. What is Robert sick of?

5. What book does Robert read?

6. Who does Jake think lives life to the fullest?

7. What is Jake’s line when he wants to get rid of people?

8. Where does Robert get his ideas?

9. What happens when Robert waits for Jake in the office?

10. What do we know about his and Frances’ relationship at the end?

1. After Robert publishes his book, he realizes he is desirable to women.

2. Robert is...

(The entire section is 201 words.)

Book I, Chapter 3 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What drink does Georgette order?

2. What is physically wrong with Georgette?

3. How did Jake get hurt?

4. Where do Jake and the others go?

5. What is Georgette’s occupation?

6. What city is Jake from?

7. What does Georgette think of Paris?

8. What type of people does Brett arrive with?

9. Who falls for Brett at the end of the chapter?

10. How is Brett different in the taxi?

1. Georgette orders pernod.

2. Georgette has bad teeth.

3. While Jake was in the war, he received his injury.

4. Jake and the others...

(The entire section is 160 words.)

Book I, Chapter 4 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why won’t Brett let Jake be romantic in the taxi?

2. What does Brett feel is the reason she is unable to have Jake sexually?

3. How do other people react to Jake’s injury?

4. What is Zizi’s occupation?

5. Whom does Georgette get into a fight with?

6. How does Robert look when he goes home with Frances?

7. What are Jake’s two pieces of mail?

8. How does Jake show intense feelings for Brett while he is alone?

9. Who is Zizi’s benefactor?

10. Who is waiting for Brett in the car?

1. Brett will not let Jake get intimate in the taxi...

(The entire section is 205 words.)

Book I, Chapters 5-6 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. How did Jake originally meet Brett?

2. Whom is Brett divorcing?

3. Who asks Jake for money?

4. Whom does Robert say he dislikes?

5. What does Frances want that Robert will not do?

6. What had Frances thought she would have even though she does not like them?

7. Whom did Robert leave when he met Frances?

8. Where is Robert sending Frances?

9. What reason does Robert give Frances for leaving her?

10. Why is Jake uncomfortable with the conversation between Robert and Frances?

1. Jake and Brett met in the hospital where Jake was sent for his...

(The entire section is 197 words.)

Book I, Chapter 7 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Whom does Brett bring to Jake’s flat?

2. What errand does Brett send the Count on?

3. What does Jake ask Brett to do?

4. Where does Brett say she is going?

5. Brett says she has not thought of whom in a week?

6. When the Count gets wine at the dance club, what is the year on the bottle?

7. While they are dancing, how does Jake feel about Brett’s openness with him?

8. Why does Brett push Jake away at the door?

9. What do all the things the Count values have in common?

10. What does the Count think of Zizi?

1. Brett brings Count...

(The entire section is 219 words.)

Book II, Chapter 8 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who disappears at the same time as Brett?

2. What city has she gone to?

3. What city do Jake and Bill initially meet in?

4. Which city does Bill like?

5. What city does Bill encounter prejudice in?

6. What does Bill want Jake to buy?

7. What does Brett regret?

8. Who is Brett’s fiance?

9. What does Mike dislike about Brett?

10. What does Mike tell about his financial situation?

1. Robert and Brett are both gone at the same time.

2. Brett has gone on a trip to San Sebastian.

3. Jake and Bill initially meet in Paris....

(The entire section is 157 words.)

Book II, Chapter 9 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What kind of fight do Bill and Jake see at the beginning of the chapter?

2. Where does Jake cable Robert to meet them?

3. After Bayonne, where will they go on the bus?

4. What does Mike ask Jake’s permission to do?

5. What is Mike waiting for before he goes with them?

6. Brett expresses concern about whose going on the trip?

7. What does Brett confide to Jake about her and Robert?

8. How does Jake react?

9. Why had Brett gone with Robert?

10. Where do Jake and Brett plan to meet?

1. At the beginning of the chapter, Robert and Jake are going...

(The entire section is 206 words.)

Book II, Chapters 10-11 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Jake buy before they leave?

2. Where do they hire the car to take them?

3. How do Spanish meals differ from American?

4. What do Robert and Bill bet on?

5. Why does Robert decide not to go fishing with Bill and Jake?

6. How does Bill react when he finds Robert actually did go with Brett to San Sebastian?

7. What kind of noise does the Basque on the bus imitate?

8. What type of apparel do the Basques wear?

9. How long had the man on the bus been in America?

10. What drink comes with the hotel room’s price?

1. Before they leave on...

(The entire section is 216 words.)

Book II, Chapter 12 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What does Jake get at the stream while Bill is still asleep?

2. What words does Bill repeat and even sing to the tune of another song?

3. What kind of fish are they catching?

4. How do they keep their wine cold?

5. How many fish does Jake lay out at the dam?

6. What does Jake put between layers of fish?

7. What do they have for lunch?

8. How long do Bill and Jake stay in Burguete to fish?

9. Whom do they meet in Burguete who goes fishing with them?

10. What river do they fish in?

1. Jake gets worms for bait while Bill is asleep.


(The entire section is 179 words.)

Book II, Chapter 13 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who gives Jake the letter from Michael?

2. Where are Bill and Jake meeting Brett and Michael?

3. From whom does Jake receive a telegram?

4. What does Harris give Bill and Jake as presents when they leave for Pamplona?

5. Why does Montoya respect Jake so much?

6. What are two things Mike says caused his bankruptcy?

7. To what does Jake compare the bull?

8. Who gets into an argument with Robert? Why?

9. How had Robert acted when he joined Brett and Mike in San Sebastian?

10. What pet name does Robert call Brett? Why?

1. Harris gives Jake the...

(The entire section is 204 words.)

Book II, Chapters 14-15 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Whom does Jake think he has not been considerate of?

2. How does Jake categorize his various friends’ abilities to hold alcohol?

3. How does Robert spend his time before the fiesta?

4. What is written on the banner being carried into the fiesta?

5. How long is the fiesta?

6. Whom do the dancers put into the center of the group as an image to dance around?

7. How much does Jake pay for the wineskins?

8. Who passes out from drinking too much?

9. Before it starts, what is Robert afraid will happen during the bullfight?

10. How old is Romero?


(The entire section is 192 words.)

Book II, Chapter 16 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Why doesn’t Montoya want Romero to have coffee with the ambassador?

2. What does Bill keep doing to Mike?

3. Where did Romero learn English?

4. What does Jake lie to Romero about?

5. What does the critic compare the bulls’ horns to?

6. Who nearly come to blows?

7. Where is Robert when Brett and Jake come out of the bar?

8. Whom has Brett fallen for?

9. While they are sitting at the table, what does Brett tell Romero she will do for him?

10. Under what pretense does Jake leave Brett and Romero?

1. Montoya is afraid if Romero has coffee...

(The entire section is 216 words.)

Book II, Chapter 17 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who is Bill’s friend?

2. Why had they been thrown out of the bar?

3. Why does Robert panic when he sees Jake?

4. What does Robert call Jake?

5. Who swings at Robert in the cafe?

6. Who wants to see Jake when he gets to the hotel?

7. How does Robert rationalize his behavior to Jake?

8. Whom does the bull kill?

9. What literary technique does Hemingway use to make the story of the bull stand out from the rest of the novel?

10. How many people are taken to the infirmary because of the bulls?

1. Bill’s friend in the reading is Edna.


(The entire section is 236 words.)

Book II, Chapter 18 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. At the beginning of the chapter, who has left?

2. Who is in bad shape from Robert’s beating?

3. What does Brett want to do in San Fermin?

4. What is the nationality of the maitre d’ at the hotel?

5. What is in the baskets carried by the sword handlers and bull-ring servants?

6. What official is attending the final fight?

7. What is wrong with Romero’s first bull?

8. To whom does Romero give the bull’s ear?

9. What does Jake say Robert will do now?

10. Where is Brett?

1. Robert leaves after his altercation with the others about Brett....

(The entire section is 199 words.)

Book III, Chapter 19 Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where do the three men decide to travel together?

2. Who avoids Jake when he is checking out?

3. Why can’t Mike pay for drinks?

4. Why doesn’t Jake want to go to Paris with Bill?

5. Where does Jake go in Spain?

6. What kind of race is going on in San Sebastian?

7. Where does Brett ask Jake to come?

8. Why is Brett upset?

9. Besides Brett, how many women has Romero been with?

10. Where are Brett and Jake at the end of the story?

1. Bill, Jake, and Mike travel together as far as Bayonne.

2. When Jake is checking out, Montoya...

(The entire section is 204 words.)